Draglines at the Curragh coal mine in Queensland's Bowen Basin, 08/2003.
Draglines at the Curragh coal mine in Queensland's Bowen Basin, 08/2003.

Worker killed at CQ mine site identified as Queensland man


  • Emergency services were called to the Curragh coal mine near Blackwater at 4pm Sunday with reports of a workplace accident 
  • Paramedics were called to Blackwater Cooroorah Rd just after 4pm on Sunday afternoon.
  • Police were called to the scene at 4.26pm
  • QAS confirmed last night one person had died at the mine site
  • Police confirmed this morning a 33-year-old man died 
  • CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth said CFMEU safety inspectors were attending the site and would conduct a thorough and independent investigation.
  • There have been eight Queensland coal mining deaths in the last 18 months. 


UPDATE 6.30PM: THE MAN killed at a Bowen Basin mine site on Sunday has been identified as 33-year-old Donald Rabbitt. 

The mine worker, from Goondiwindi, was reportedly about to finish his shift when he was tragically crushed by machinery. 

UPDATE 4pm: Acting Mines Minister Mark Ryan has slammed the political mud-slinging from the opposition following the death of a miner near Blackwater on the weekend and expressed their condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the worker.

The response has come after NQ First Leader and Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan called for the resignation or sacking of Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham.

"Mines inspectors are currently onsite at Curragh investigating. I do not want to make any comment about this particular incident, both out of respect for everyone affected, and in light of the independent investigation," Mr Ryan said.

"Any death in our resources workplaces is unacceptable, and this government is committed to working with employers, unions and peak bodies to continue to improve protections for our workers.

"This Labor Government has already extensively reformed mine safety and health over the past five years, and Queensland now has the toughest mine safety and health laws in the world. And there is further reform to come."

Mr Ryan said the government has reformed detection and prevention of black lung, and improve the safety net for affected workers, as well as increasing maximum penalties and giving the regulator powers to issue fines without going to court.

"We have worked with industry, companies and unions to have mine and quarry workers across the state attend safety reset sessions to refocus on health and safety," Mr Ryan said.

"We will introduce legislation this year to make industrial manslaughter an offence, as it is in other Queensland workplaces, and we have legislation before the Parliament to establish an independent resources health and safety authority.

"As the Minister said in July, two independent reviews will be tabled in Parliament.

"The government will take advice on further action from these reviews from its advisory committees and the independent Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health."


Update 3.50pm: Owner of Curragh Coal Mine, Coronado Global Resources Inc, has released a statement about the tragic death of a Thiess employee on Sunday.

"Coronado and Thiess extend their deepest sympathies to the family of the individual and all those affected by this tragic event," the spokesperson said.

"Queensland Police, the Queensland Mines Inspectorate, and relevant authorities have been advised and an incident investigation is underway.

"Operations have been suspended until investigators permit the operations to resume.

"Workers are being progressively briefed on the incident as they arrive on site to commence their shifts and the company has made counselling services available."

Further updates on mine operations will be provided by Coronado in due course.


UPDATE 3PM: Operations at Curragh Mine near Blackwater have been suspended as investigations continue into the death of a mine worker on Sunday.

The 33 year old miner, who worked for a contract company, suffered critical injuries when he was crushed by a piece of machinery he was working on just after 4.20pm.

The man, understood to be a tyre fitter, was working in the maintenance department, CFMEU industry safety and health representative Stephen Watts said today.

"It might be time to look at a few factors; probably beefing up the Inspectorate, look at the industrial manslaughter laws that are coming in and we've got to look at mine site business models," Mr Watts said.

"People that don't have permanent jobs can be dismissed with an hour's notice.

"With that hanging over your head, why would you want to be the one complaining about safety?"

Mr Watts said the investigation into the miner's death was in its early stages.

"We could be here for weeks," he said.

"To find the nature and cause, it could take years to do the report."

CFMEU industry safety and health representative Stephen Watts outside Curragh Mine on Monday after a man, 33, died onsite in a workplace accident on Sunday.
CFMEU industry safety and health representative Stephen Watts outside Curragh Mine on Monday after a man, 33, died onsite in a workplace accident on Sunday.

1.10pm: IT HAS been revealed that the mine worker who tragically lost his life at Curragh mine yesterday was crushed by a piece of machinery he was working on.

The 33-year-old man, understood to be a tyre fitter, was reportedly working on a float - which transports machinery - when it crushed him. 

UPDATE 1pm: With recent efforts to hold mining companies more accountable under the Queensland's industrial manslaughter legislation, Shine Lawyers Special Counsel Craig Oliver has commented on Sunday's Curragh mine tragedy as "not good enough". 

"I was saddened to hear of yet another mining death, this time of a worker at the Curragh coal mine in central Queensland on Sunday," Mr Oliver said.

"Mines and quarries are still among the most dangerous places to work in the Sunshine State and that's not good enough.

"It's heartbreaking to see so many injured miners or relatives of deceased miners coming through my door to seek legal advice because safety is not coming before production and commercial interests on the list of priorities, which has to change.

"The state government can't move quickly enough to fulfil its promise to extend industrial manslaughter laws to the resources industry, both to deter mining companies from adopting or permitting unsafe work practices and increase accountability."


UPDATE 11.20am: Further calls for the Labor Government to take action have rung out after the tragic death of a miner at Curragh mine yesterday. 

LNP Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dale Last expressed his outrage over the eighth coal mining death in 18 months in Queensland. 

"It's absolutely tragic that another worker didn't return home because of a fatal incident on a Queensland mine site," Mr Last said.

"Annastacia Palaszczuk must show some leadership because workers continue to die in our mines and we still don't have answers.

"Last July, Labor announced two separate independent reviews into Queensland's mine safety and these were meant to be finalised at the end of the year, but they're yet to be released.

"The Minister needs to explain why they've been delayed."

Mr Last said LNP called for a bi-partisan Parliamentary Inquiry into mine safety last July but the Labor Government "rejected it". 

"A Parliamentary inquiry will fast-track any legislative changes," he said.

"It's absolutely crucial Queensland learns lessons from these tragedies, otherwise more lives are on the line.

"One death is one too many, but eight in 18 months under Labor's watch is totally unacceptable.

"Annastacia Palaszczuk reduced the number of mine inspections and the mining safety advisory committee was dissolved because it didn't meet a gender quota.

"Everyone deserves the right to come home safely from their workplace."

UPDATE 11:10am: NQ First Leader and Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan has called on Labor's Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham to resign or for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to step in and fire him, following the death of a miner at Curragh mine on Sunday,

The latest death, near Blackwater, is the eighth coal miner fatality at a Queensland mine site in the [ast 20 months.

"I wish to place on record my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of this latest victim and kindly ask that people in my electorate and beyond, especially those who work in the coal industry, hold these people in their thoughts and prayers," Mr Costigan said from Parliament House.

"However, the tough questions need to be asked and whilst this latest tragedy is now the subject of a thorough investigation, as you would expect, you have to wonder about what is going on in Queensland's multi-billion dollar coal mining sector when it comes to workplace safety and how the Palaszczuk Labor Government is addressing these matters."

Mr Costigan said he had previously grilled the Minister on the issue before, stating that despite workplace safety being "everyone's business", the Minister must "lead from the front".

"Sadly, however, Dr Anthony Lynham has presided over an absolute disaster - a dark 18 months in the history of our coal mining sector in Queensland," Mr Costigan said.

"This is the same bloke who refuses to establish the Mine Safety and Health Authority in Mackay, as per those recommendations of the Queensland Parliament's Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis (CQP) Select Committee, of which I proudly served as a member and so with his form and another fatality, it's time for him to go.

"Given this utterly disgraceful and sad situation, Labor's Mines Minster should resign and if he refuses to do that as well, then the Premier should step in and sack him."


UPDATE: 10.15am: Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane has issued condolences on behalf of the council to the family of the man who died at a Central Queensland mine yesterday.

Mr Macfarlane said the Queensland Resources Council was saddened by the tragic news of a worker's death at the Curragh coal mine near Blackwater.

"On behalf of the industry, QRC offers condolences to the worker's family, friends and workmates.

"The resources industry is tight-knit, so this tragedy will deeply affect everyone who works in and with the resources community.

"Safety is always the resources sector's number one priority. The industry is working with the Queensland Government and unions to ensure an ongoing safety focus to maximise safety across the sector."                        

9:05am: Police have confirmed the worker who died in a workplace accident on a Blackwater mine site was a 33-year-old man.

A police spokeswoman said emergency services were called to Curragh Mine in Blackwater at 4.30pm with reports of a "worksite accident".

The spokeswoman said police were called to investigate and would prepare a report for the coroner.

She said the man's family had been notified.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland would also investigate the death, the first mining tragedy for 2020.

9.PM: IN the wake of a tragic mine death today, CFMEU Mining and Energy Quensland president Stephen Smyth said CFMEU safety inspectors were attending the site and would conduct a thorough and independent investigation.

"We are shocked and saddened at the death of a mine worker at Curragh coal mine today," he said.

"Our hearts go out to family, friends and workmates.

"This is a terrible start to 2020 and the industry must redouble efforts to end the tragic loss of life in our mines."

7.40PM: QUEENSLAND Ambulance Service has confirmed the worker has died following a mining accident at Blackwater's Curragh coal mine.

An age could not be disclosed at this time.

7.20PM: A MINE worker has critical injuries after they were reportedly trapped in machinery at Curragh coal mine near Blackwater.

Paramedics were called to Blackwater Cooroorah Rd just after 4pm on Sunday afternoon.

Police were called to the scene at 4.26pm and as of 7.30pm on Sunday night were still on scene.

It could not be confirmed the status of the injured person.